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June 25, 2018

International tourists arrivals defy election jitters

The ongoing political campaigns in the country have not affected the international tourists arrivals, hoteliers at the coast have said.

The Kenya Association of Hotelkeepers and Caterers coast executive Sam Ikwaye said since the beginning of September, the coast circuit has recorded 60 per cent international arrivals.

He said the domestic and regional tourism markets are the only ones which have been affected by the ongoing political scenario in the country.

According to Ikwaye, the international marketers were selling Kenya from September, immediately after the August 8 general election.

“There are those guests who had booked their trips to Kenya from September. These trips cannot be cancelled just because the Supreme Court had ordered for repeat polls,” said Ikwaye.

Speaking to the Star from Mombasa, Ikwaye said the international booking can only be cancelled if the country is in a serious turmoil, leading to issuance of travel advisories.

From August, all the way to December, the season is considered a high season in the tourism sector.

However, there have been reports that the ongoing political campaigns might have affected all sectors of the economy, among them tourism.

It has gone down on record that every election year, since 2007, Kenya’s tourism sector has been the most hit by the uncertainties.

Ikwaye however said this election year they have done well compared to other previous years.

“Kenya is currently very stable. However, we are cautioning politicians to tone down their rhetoric, which might lead to political violence,” said Ikwaye.

He said domestic tourism during the August school holidays was affected by the elections where many Kenyans opted not to travel for leisure.

“We are now banking on the coming December holidays. But if the current political scenarios becomes worse, then we are going to lose big time,” he said.





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